Success Story #19
People often want to know when I first became fluent, and I sometimes feel as if they’re looking for the particular moment when I could speak without blocking. It’s not like that at all. Recovery from chronic stuttering does not happen overnight, except in very rare instances.
Most people change gradually, in stages, and although you can create mechanical fluency overnight with various speech techniques, true fluency occurs when the constant fear of blocking has disappeared. Your total system has changed sufficiently so that you do not automatically default to a speech block when you are under stress.
It is not necessary to achieve this level of recovery to feel that you’ve successfully licked stuttering. I know many people who are elegant, charismatic speakers, even though they still manifest an occasional block. And I know others who still have significant blocks and yet are successful people and compelling presenters. Eloquence does not revolve around fluency. It has to do with the ability to connect with people and to say what is in your heart. It has to do with being genuine. It has to do with never compromising your convictions but speaking your mind, regardless of the circumstance. This is when chronic stuttering has truly been defeated.
The history of my stuttering can be characterized by five distinct stages: denial, acceptance, understanding, transcending, and reprogramming.” (In this article, John brilliantly summarizes these five steps to the gaining of freedom of speech.).
Success Story #18
I wanted to share this story related to work that indirectly involves my stuttering. My hope is people use this as another example of how continuously “checking under the hood” is the appropriate methodology keeping in mind that you need to make the proper adjustments depending on your situation. This may be long winded to provide you enough perspective on my situation to assist in taking you through the map of my thought process both then and now.
I have been employed with the same company for 6 ½ years all as a manager. For the first three years, although there were some bumps in the road, I was able to increase in responsibility as manager. I went from managing 12 people to about 21 people with an increase responsibility. I was fighting some internal conceptions about my stuttering but was able to sufficiently manage my area.
Then about three years in, my whole world changed as far my work responsibilities. My department moved from all locally managed to being managed from the corporate office. We still had a vice president at my site but that person reported up to a global vice president. Shortly after that change, we had an audit that was perceived by my corporate office as being a “deficient” audit which cast dispersions on several departments including mine. Shortly after that occurred, the corporate office felt it was necessary to hire a very prominent firm to come in and perform another audit which would be leveraged for something far worse. This audit along with another significant project’s failure (which was attributed to my department ultimately) was used to reduce my responsibilities significantly. The “something far worse” was a major reduction of responsibilities. I went from managing 21 people to 2 people (which later went to a team of 5).
I was devastated. I felt if I spoke up, I would make things worse. I felt if a “stuttering manager” went in and tried to raise “that it wasn’t my fault and here is why”, I would be escorted out the door. So I sat silent hoping my then new director would be the spokesmen to speak for my department. I privately shared with him the facts that would contradict (at least partially so) the allegations against my department.
It was a full sweep where not only my department but many people were affected. To make matters worse, my performance review reflected as such as well. I tried to dispute it but my effort was futile. Ultimately, this significantly affected my self confidence. I second guessed everything that I did. My perception regarding a lot of people with the exception of a few close colleagues was that people had it in for me. The anxiety also caused constrictions in my chest and throat area in many “under pressure” situations and I completely avoided speaking in many cross functional meetings. In addition, no one bothered to even tell me what I actually did wrong. Since my confidence was completely shot, I didn’t even have the courage to ask.
For the next couple of years, my working environment was thought to have a glimmer of hope but ultimately that hope failed. I had another new director that was suppose to have a new vision. Initially, I thought this was going to be the person that is going to make a difference and help me restore my confidence, credibility and maybe even give me the boost that I needed to get me past my speech. To his credit, the new director (let’s call him Don) did do some good things. His knowledge was incredible and most times said the right thing. At that point, I had mustered enough courage for myself to seek out a speech pathologist. I even told Don that I was doing it. I think I completely caught him off guard because he just sat there silent and didn’t say anything. The silence was long enough to make it uncomfortable and so I switched the subject. The year went on but ultimately his “honeymoon period” at work was over and he eventually fell prey to the corporate machine too. He didn’t get fired but he was so emotionally exhausted he eventually left the company. (As a side note, I eventually discontinued the speech pathologist as he said “I made improvements and there wasn’t more than he could do”.)
About ten months prior to him leaving, I actually moved to a different department. Just a couple months prior to me moving into this department, my company hired a new director (let’s call him John) for this particular department. I had actually led a few meetings with John included. Keep in mind even at this point, I had some situations where my blocking was fairly prominent. I remember after those meetings, my imagination got the best of me. I thought John was going to have a perception of incompetence as well. But I was wrong. John never mentioned it and he saw me as a very prominent leader that can do great things as a member of his department. After two months of seeing me do my thing, John approached me about joining his group. Boy, at this point, I was going through a dilemma. In one hand, I wanted to join to get away from what I was dealing with in my current group but I a lot of the responsibilities including talking to a government agency on the phone was new to me. I did have discussions in the past with this particular government agency but nothing like what I was going to do with this role.
After much deliberation, I chose to take the job. About eight months or so into the job, another member of my newly joined department had left the company. As a result, John thought it was best take on his most prominent project. This project was being worked on for the last 7 years or so and was a corporate goal. I had mixed feelings taking on this role but I felt it would be a good opportunity to overcome the negative reputation that I had. During the end of this project, something most unfortunate happened. John had passed away in his sleep of diabetes. John had been battling diabetes for the last 35 years. In the previous months, John had gone into a diabetic coma on three different occasions. John relocated close to where I lived and even gave me a key to his place to check up on him when his wife was gone. The last diabetic coma was his last and passed away in his sleep.
John was a good friend and a great mentor. There was a huge void in my life and I again felt helpless. The site president took over temporarily for oversight of our group in the meantime. I dealt with the loss by sinking myself into work. I was able to navigate leading meetings with various managers as well as top level executives for my company. My meetings had involved soliciting feedback on the package that was being assembled to submit to the government agency. I was a nervous wreck but was able to lead the meetings effectively with little to no blocking. The project was completed a short time after that and was sent to the government agency for review. If the government would approve this project, then it would be worth 15 million dollar income for my company.
Shortly before the project was completed, I was also exploring the different avenues other than fluency techniques. I started to see a cognitive behavioral therapist and started to work on my general anxiety (which also included discussion revolving around my stuttering). This was the start of switching over my mindset. The biggest help during this time period is creating a journal. Something magical had happened when I started to put my thoughts down on paper. I also began reading other books (including Bobby B.’s book) about stuttering. This also included Ruth’s book and John H.’s book as well (Pscyho-Cybernetics and The Power of Intention was in there as well and also proved to me extremely useful) As I began reading these books, each of them created an insight into what was going on with me that I didn’t have before. I had so many “a-ha” moments, there are two numerous to count.
At this time to, I also began to more actively participate in a couple of stuttering forums including Neurosemanticsofstuttering. This forum by far was the most enriching. I read people’s threads regarding their progress which offered even more insight. I continued to both read and participate in these forums. I also got the encouragement to participate in Toastmasters.
While all this was going on, I saw my self-image and my blocking get significantly better. During this time as well, I continued to get more interaction with my site president. This relationship has allowed me to regain a comfort level at work that I haven’t had in about five years. We have had several very positive interactions and it has allowed me to start talking more freely regarding some of the ongoing topics including an encouragement to seek out a senior level leadership that was vacant as a result of Don leaving.
After my application went in, I received approval for the project that I was working on (which will be able to bring in the anticipated $15 million). I was on cloud nine. I was still waiting to hear a response from my application. In the mean time, I continued to see improvements. My coach at work (who I have also discussed Stuttering with) noticed an improvement in both my self image and speech. People at toastmasters commented positively on my short but sweet table topic speeches. Even after I went for a beer afterwards with a few members, one person commented that I must have done something right considering that he didn’t noticed any disfluency.
During this time, I also started to read Tony Robbin’s book “Unlimited Power”. This book did an excellent job at explaining many different things including the NLP concepts. I have incorporated various NLP techniques including reframing, different visualizations, auditory and kinesthetic “theater in the mind” approaches. I also really liked his 7 lies to success and discussion on tonality and voice timbre. In addition, his discussion on how to approach conflict I employed in an upcoming conversation that I will talk about in a little bit.
So this almost brings us up to present. A week prior, I had received a 1:1 invitation with the hiring manager for the senior level position. I thought this was a good sign figuring it would be either a interview or even a job offer. Well when I got to the 1:1, the hiring manager (let’s call him Calvin) informed me that the position was to be filled by an external candidate. I was crushed. For a brief moment, I was having flashbacks to the feeling incompetent where my habitual reaction is to create shell around me and not talk. But I didn’t, I continued to sell to him why I was the best candidate for the job. Calvin actually offered me a lateral position (not the senior level position within the same department). It should be noted that this position was actually in the department where I originally worked. But, this time the situation was different. I was different in that I have changed my paradigm. I have confidence and I am going to tell Calvin what’s on mind (professionally speaking of course!). I told him that I would think about the lateral move and will inform him later on of my decision. However, during the course of conversation where I was selling myself, one of the benefits I gave was that I knew the politics. I have taken a page out of Tony Robbin’s book and not treating what I have experienced as a set of failures but outputs. He indicated that politics had negatively impacted my ability to get the job (even though there was another reason “officially” this was a pretty significant factor).
So I took the same approach by treating this as not a failure but as another output. So this brings us up to present day. I decided I will take my case to the site president. “Low Self Image Me” would never have embarked on such a task but “New and Improved Me” was up to the challenge. So the site president and I had a discussion. Instead of taking the road of complaining, I decided to take a different path. I was going to approach this as “What do I have to do to position myself better when the next growth opportunity comes around?”. I am tired of someone else controlling the perception of me. It is time for me to take charge. We talked about a lot of different things including some of the “perceptions of my incompentence”. It was pretty clear to me that someone provided a different point of view then what I directly experienced that had negatively impacted my credibility.
The meeting lasted about double the time and there is a continuation to the story which will happen next week. Tony gave a great suggestion of not attacking a position head on but look at it as there are “multiple” scenarios to a situation. This approach is great because it does not put the person on the defensive but simply offers up another perspective. I didn’t discuss my perspective in detail but what I did emphasize is that I would like to bring some developmental points so I can deal with them head on. I also have objective information from my performance review as well as notes to my file (just prior to D-day) that will support my perspective to show that I am not just making the information that I state up.
Overall, my situation isn’t perfect but I am much happier. And guess what? Blocking was such a minor thought that it didn’t matter if I blocked or not. It simply mattered that I got my point across in the manner that I intend to (congruent with my intent). As a result, blocking has been a non-issue and it has been (dare I say 🙂 ), non-existent.
Thanks for reading my long winded story but I indeed wanted to share my breakthrough to give inspiration to all PWSs out there that this is possible!
Success Story #17
April 14, 2010
Anna’s First Paragraph:
As far back as I can remember, stuttering was always present in my life, although according to my mother, it began when I was 4. Even when, after years and years of intensive therapy, I became passably fluent, or so it appeared to outsiders, I felt that that it was still there, lurking in the back of my mind, ready to pounce at every moment. It was my monster, a “thing” that had always been sitting on top of my life, marring everything. No matter how hard I fought it, deep inside I never believed that I would ever be able to get rid of it. I never thought that someday I would take interest in my monster, get to know it, befriend it and finally free myself from its detrimental influence…
Concluding Remarks from Her Testimony “Befriending my Stuttering is the Key to Recovery”
Now, since I speak fluently almost all the time, I often have people ask what I have done to achieve this level of fluency so fast. Was it voluntary stuttering? Was it speech therapy? Or was it Toastmasters? Or maybe it was NLP that did the trick?
I wish I could give a short and satisfying answer. But it is not that simple.
Remember the time you learned how to drive a car? How at first you were quick to brake so that your car kept alternating between speeding up and slowing down? What allowed you to become a confident, “fluent” driver?
Certainly it was important to have courage to go on the road and practice as much as possible, but even more important was to know and understand the rules of How Things Work.
If you didn’t know what made the car (or your speech) so disfluent, you may have attributed your problems to a manufacturing defect of your car, or your genetic inability to drive, and you might never revised your faulty strategy of overusing the brakes. But if you know how things work, if you understand what good drivers (and speakers) do in order to be so proficient – and if you can identify the cause of your problems – you will know what to do and where to go, and you will continue to improve until you succeed.
To me the turning point in my lifelong struggle with my monster was reading John Harrison’s book (free download). After this my paradigm shifted, and I started to view my stuttering from an entirely different perspective. The rest was a technical matter.
- I used voluntary stuttering to counteract the habitual urge to push through the block, because I knew that applying physical force in order to push the words out would result in more blocking.
- I joined Toastmasters and started to challenge the boundaries of my comfort zone, because I knew that avoiding speaking would only create more fear.
- I used NLP to change my belief system, because I knew how faulty beliefs can contribute to blocking behavior.
- And of course, I wouldn’t get that far if I continue having problems communicating in English, so speech therapy was a definite help too.
None of these was the golden ticket to recovery. Other people may use different paths to arrive to the same destination. But the important thing for me was to understand how the Stuttering Hexagon works, which allowed me to select the most effective strategies to alter it. Once I acquired this knowledge and understanding, freedom of speech and the fluency that follows is no longer an impossible dream for me.
It is real, and it is out there. It is within my grasp.
Click here to read her complete 6 page Testimony where Anna shares her journey to speaking fluently most of the time.
Click here to read her article The Science of Stuttering.
Contact the Author:
Success Story #16
By David Friedman
July 18, 2010
The NSA Conference in Cleveland was a breakthrough experience for me. For the first time in my life I felt like I belonged to a community of people where I could truly be me. About two days into the conference the thought hit me: I was completely in the moment, stuttering and simply not caring. Most of all, I felt free to be me, as I am, saying what’s on my mind, with no embarrassment. When I was fully struck with the realization I had been stuttering, laughing, connecting, and not caring, a complete calm washed over me I can’t remember ever feeling in my life.
I’m sure many people who stutter can identify with the feeling of not fitting in. My whole life I have felt different because anxiety and nervousness about speaking has always been there reminding me I could be caught in a block at any moment. The constant worry about suffering the humiliation and embarrassment of stuttering turned me into someone who had to mask my disfluency at all costs. I have spent my entire life scared to death people would find out I’m just a fraud, a person masquerading as a confident, fluent communicator.
The few years leading up to January 2009, the date when I finally found the NSA, the act was impossible to keep up. I was a terrible wreck. I had faked my way to a decent career without advertising my fears about communicating. My day of reckoning was imminent, and the scheme of passing myself off as fluent person was starting to fizzle. I was regularly speaking on conference calls, lecturing, presenting and going to social networking events, but the tension and worry was eating me alive.
At my first NSA meeting I was nervous and did my best to be fluent, but I noticed others didn’t seem to care if they stuttered in front of me. As I continued coming back to the monthly meetings I started to realize by accepting others and their speech, I was subconsciously accepting my own. After hearing about other member’s ability to advertise their stuttering, little by little I was inspired to do the same.
Now, most of my friends, family and co-workers know I stutter. The imagined Armageddon didn’t happen, and advertising has taken the pressure off and benefit me in ways I didn’t expect. In my lifelong attempt mask my disfluency, the fear and shame I built up inside actually kept me emotionally distant from most people. This part of me, stuttering, was so terrible, that revealing it to anyone meant the end of me. Telling others and being comfortable to stutter opening has only made me human.
Our society promotes perfection, and so many people are ashamed of their weaknesses and flaws. In reality though, most people are uncomfortable around those perceived as flawless. Being human and imperfect around others grants permission to be the same and this builds instant rapport. I believe people view me as much more authentic and genuine now that I am open and honest about who I am. What you see is what you get!
Being part of the NSA family is such a blessing. I have lived a life of hiding the real me and the NSA has shown me I can be exactly who I am without shame or justification.
Note: David is a student of Neuro-Linguistics and Neuro-Semantics. He utilizes this knowledge in re-programming his “stuttering mind-set” to a “mind-set of freedom”. He now lives freely as a PWS refusing to allow stuttering to control his life. He exclaims that in the past he had given stuttering way too much emphasis. He is now thinking far more logically and rational as an adult thinker. (Bobby G. Bodenhamer)
Success Story #15
December 15, 2009
When rehearsing for future events that are causing or may cause anxiety, fear, anger or any negatives into my mind, I sit down in a chair, close my eyes and attempt to replicate the situation in a visual in my mind. This practice is also helpful for alleviating negative experiences, or perceived negative experiences, that may have taken place in the past. By allowing these negative experiences to totally enter into my being and applying the unconditional love of Christ, I am able to change the false meaning that I have attached to a certain situation or event allowing myself to experience peace and joy.
Recalling past events or pulling in future events requires deep concentration, at least in the beginning of learning this method, in order to properly relive the experience. Once the experience is in the forefront of my mind, I focus on the image or images along with the feelings that present themselves. Once I am able to isolate the cause of the negative feeling by ‘dropping down’ through the emotional levels (ie…fear, anger to nothingness), I visualize my whole physical appearance in the situation and disassociate myself from the image.
Many times when a person recalls events, they tend to see the situation from the perspective of looking out of their eyes, a first person point of view, from their position in the event. In order to disassociate oneself from the situation, which allows a person to isolate the incident, one must remove themselves from the first person point of view into a third person point of view. I accomplish this by moving myself, like a movie camera if you will, to the side and slightly above the perceived negative image.
Once this position is established, I allow myself to rise up above the whole situation and be with Jesus. From this elevated position with Jesus [Use whatever is the highest belief/value that you have.), His love flows into my being, many times with His encouragement, removing the negative perception and the negative feelings that were formerly associated with the event. I am able to now experience the grace and truth that was previously missing in my life.
I have found that many times the visualizations that I recall contain images of myself as a child, perhaps in a classroom or family setting, in which I was stuttering when speaking or fearing the event of speaking because of my stutter. These incidents created a negative perception of myself and everything associated with that event. As I grew older, these negative perceptions and patterns of belief became deeply engrained eventually leading to isolation and denial of the needs that were necessary in my life for happiness and healthy relationships with others. With the grace of God and His unyielding love, I am able to transform these negative connotations into positive and joyful living.
Success Story #14
Therapist: Tim Mackesey, SLP
February 5, 2008
Being a football player I was no stranger to drills and practice. I used cognitive strategies and visualization I learned from Tim to mentally prepare for the meetings and calls. This helped remove anxiety before ever entering the situation. I would also take my pen and mark passages before practicing them out loud. If Tim said: “Dig a well before you’re thirsty” one more time, I was going to body slam him.
It is now 12 months later and I am a new man. I have several successful meetings behind me. My stuttering is nearly gone. I believe that once I have a couple more good meetings behind me I may be stable in fluency. Scouting in the NFL is close knit community. Several people have complimented me on my new poise and fluency.
Those compliments were music to my ear.
My advice to kids out there is to hit back at the stuttering. Do not let stuttering take you down. Tackle the stuttering. Look at cornerbacks in the NFL. Cornerbacks are some of the smallest guys on the field but they deliver the biggest hits. They have courage and grit. Do your drills and work at overcoming stuttering.
Read “NFL Scout’s” Full Testimony by Clicking Here.
Go for it,
A.P.- NFL Scout
Success Story #14a
Read a testimony from one of Tim’s PWS Client (PDF File). Client Jeff Ingram has written a fabulous article entitled “When Fluency Shaping Does Not Work”.
Success Story #13
October 16, 2007
See Max’s Presentation of how he makes “his fear go down every time he speaks”.
Success Story #12
Brian Heskin, CCC-SLP
Read all of Brian’s Testimonial. Brian concludes his article with these words:
In traditional speech therapy for PWS, our approach has been to teach fluency shaping and modification strategies along with addressing emotional issues through desensitization. But for me, this did not get to the core of stuttering; the emotional and cognitive aspects of stuttering. From my own experience, when the fear and anxiety of speaking was so strong, I was unable to use my strategies and desensitizing to stuttering was not enough to make a lasting change. My old frames of previous experiences took over and my stuttering reared its’ ugly head. However, through the use of cognitive restructuring made available through Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Neuro-Semantics (NS), lasting changing can be made for a person who stutters. I am one example of the effectiveness of changing our ways of thinking. I would strongly encourage SLP’s working with PWS to get involved and learn more about the power of cognitive restructuring and the impact it can have on promoting lasting fluency.
Brian Heskin, CCC-SLP
Success Story #11
Hazel Percy concludes her 14 page testimony:
As I look back over the past five years, I realise that at different stages, I’ve been addressing each point of my ‘stuttering hexagon’ and making each one more positive. Neurosemantics in particular has played a key role in helping me to change my beliefs about myself, and my perceptions of other people. At this point, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Bob and Tim for all their help and for all that they do to help PWS. I’d also like to thank John too, whose unique insight has tremendously influenced and helped me, particularly in the area of my perceptions and emotions. And of course all my colleagues and friends on the McGuire Programme, who have helped, supported and inspired me in so many ways.
I’m very aware that this new way of speaking and presenting myself to the world continually needs to be reinforced day by day, so that eventually it becomes habituated and second nature. Which is why I now enjoy pushing out my comfort zone and making the most of every speaking opportunity. For example, whenever I’m in a shop I will usually start chatting with the shop assistant (providing there isn’t a long queue behind me!). If I’m in a queue waiting to pay for something, I will often pass the time of day with the person in front or behind me. And I love chatting with the parents at the school gate, when I pick my children up each day.
How different life is now! Instead of waking up each morning with a sense of heaviness, wondering how I’m going to get through each speaking situation, I now wake up looking forward to enjoying speaking as much as possible. At last, I am able to show other people my true colours!
Read Hazel’s 14 page article about her 5 year journey towards much more fluency.
Success Story #10
I am now 60 years old. Some people say that I am semi-retired, but I don’t feel anywhere near my “use by” date. From my own perspective I am just enjoying more leisure. In most respects my life has been happy. I am married and have three grown up children who are making a success of their lives. I have had an interesting and successful work career as an economist working within government in Australia and New Zealand and as a private consultant.
However, I have had some problems. As a child I developed a severe stutter. In many situations I was unable to say more that a few words without blocking. My speech improved greatly during my teen years and these improvements were largely maintained. I was reasonably fluent in most situations but I often blocked at those moments when I was trying hardest to speak fluently. As far as possible I avoided public speaking.
When I was about 30 years old a muscle spasm began to occur on the right side of my face. According to neurological advice this hemi-facial spasm (HFS) has a physical rather than psychological cause (compression of the facial nerve) and is not related to stuttering. At the time it developed, however, it felt just like having to learn to live with stuttering all over again. But the spasm was there nearly all the time, whether I was talking or not, and even when I was alone. I felt as though I was falling apart.
What followed, over about 30 years, was a long search to restore inner harmony. I sought help from a lot of different people and tried a long list of things – including relaxation therapy, yoga, biofeedback, pharmaceuticals, herbal remedies, micro-surgery, botox, the Alexander technique, meditation and NLP. Some of these things helped a little.
Since I found Neuro-Semantics (NS) – and Tim Gallwey’s inner game books – in 2002 there has been a substantial improvement in many aspects of my life, including fluency and my attitude to HFS. It would not be possible to calculate what proportion of improvement is attributable to my study of Gallwey’s books rather than to other important influences, including the NS matrix model. The way I see it, Gallwey’s books have reinforced many of the things that I have learned through NS.
Read Winton’s 9 page article where he continues his story including a full description of the tools he used in gaining fluency (highly recommended).
Success Story #9
My whole life I have had difficulty speaking in front of others due to stuttering and stammering. The constant thoughts, sounds and pictures running through my mind were paralyzing enough to almost evaporate the drive I had to speak with the people that I was getting to know. It was exhausting to have the drive to do many wonderful things that this life has to offer and yet stopped by the daunting fear of what others may think of you at first impressions. This fear had me feeling like I was in an ‘inescapable depression’.
The best way to describe my situation is to imagine your are about to run a race and as you are at the starting line positioning yourself to run; you are obsessively worrying how the race is going to go; what the people around are thinking of you; and, constantly second guessing your abilities along with your imagination creating worst case scenarios. It was, as if, I would unconsciously trip myself a split second just after the starting gun went off. My question had always been, “How to get away from, as I have recently called it, that ‘Wall’, or ‘Zone’ that had entrapped me?” I had this question at the start of every race that I attempted. I have since learned that positioning myself with the courage to grow would make the difference.
I would say I was stammering a majority of the time until recently with the help of Neuro-Semantics from Dr. Bob Bodenhamer. I have known about NLP since the late 1990’s. It was the help of Neuro-Semantics that revealed that I needed to have the patience and understandings that are involved when communicating with others. Most of all it has helped me understand myself in a more sensible way where old habits and beliefs are diminished when social situation occur.
Not only has Neuro-Semantics helped me communicate with others without blocking, it has taught me how to communicate with myself first and foremost – even when no one else is around. How I believe in myself before and during social interactions has changed tremendously. I am not the same person I was a couple of years ago. Having the ability to risk and have fun while speaking before people is something I now look forward to. I do not experience myself as the fearful child I used to be when engaging others; I see an adult who can get the job done. I understand so well why a very popular shoe brand has the slogan, “Just do it!” The ‘thinking too much’ before many situations is not as necessary as we sometimes believe. I have already done the thinking part with the help of Dr. Bob Bodenhamer and Neuro-Semantics, now, “I just want to do it”.
Shawn B. McCarn
Master practitioner of NLP
Success Story #8
Two Month Follow Up ? Is It Working Long-Term?
After I had completed the consultations with Bob, I knew there would be certain milestones that would determine how effective the treatment was on a long-term basis. Those milestones included being placed in the usual “high stress” situations that would normally result in stuttering. Some examples are serious one-on-one conversation concerning uncomfortable topics, Management meetings, Company meetings, and several other speaking situations that I previously thought of as “threatening.” Over the past two months I have been exposed to each of these “threatening” situations and spoke fluently through each milestone. The final milestone was met on March 21, 2002 when I was scheduled to give a presentation to the Board Members of the Company I work for. Now, prior to working with Bob, stuttering in this situation was a 100% certainty. However, even that meeting was unable to produce the stuttering again. I have tested my fluency in every situation that used to produce stuttering! And, I am happy to report that it appears to be a long-term success. The biggest difference between stuttering and fluency is that fluent individuals do not think about stuttering.
Success Story #7
Neuro-Semantics and the NLP Drop-Down Through Pattern offer great possibilities in the treatment of stuttering. Most traditional speech therapy has centered around modifications at the behavioral level (i.e., breathing, easy onset of speech, light articulatory contacts, etc.). The perceived stigma of stuttering and overwhelming urge to “not stutter” often overpower the behavioral level strategies. Periodic relapse after treatment is common. The missing Holy Grail from traditional speech therapy has been a consistent, swift, and thorough reframing strategy for meta-states to alleviate the pre-stutter phenomenon. Success with the cognitive aspect of stuttering (i.e., fear, avoidance, limiting beliefs) is essential to lasting change. Situation and word-specific anchors form along the time-line of stuttering development. As an NLP practitioner and person with a residual, mild stutter, I was game to explore the Drop-Down personally. I have experienced a significant increase in spontaneous fluency that I attribute to NLP, Neuro-Semantics and especially the power of the Neuro-Semantic Technique the “Drop Down Through Pattern” while being coached by Bob.
Click here to read Tim’s 22 Page article where he shares his journey as a PWS from childhood stuttering to the present fluency. It is a valuable and encouraging read – “Freedom of Speech: How I Overcame Stuttering“.
Tim Mackesey, CCC-SLP
Master NLP Practitioner
Success Story #6
Note: I very much appreciate the following testimony by Walter Sturdivant who tells us his story of a life long habit of stuttering. He speaks of the many therapies that he has tried. He even worked with Dr. Wendell Johnson. He then heard of Tim Mackesey, SLP of Stuttering Specialists in Atlanta Georgia, and Tim’s work with NLP and Neuro-Semantics. Walter in this article tells his complete story. I shall paste the latter part of it below. The full article may be found here.
The viability of any new model is that other people with similar knowledge can take the new model and duplicate its findings. With Walter’s story we see the results of speech pathologist Tim Mackesey, SLP of Stuttering Specialists in Atlanta Georgia. Indeed Tim has utilized these tools in assisting several clients to much more fluency. There are others in the Neuro-Semantic Community obtaining the same results thus validating this model for PWS.
Walter concludes his life story with stuttering by stating:
“…As the 21st Century dawned, and as I began to feel my seniority deepen, stuttering became more an annoyance rather than an embarrassment. Why was I fluent in most speaking situations except the telephone? Was there anything more I could do here in Atlanta, as the thought of traveling to yet another disappointing clinic was hardly appealing?
“When telling my story to a group of speech pathology students at Georgia State University in July 2004 Tim Mackesey’s name was mentioned and his Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) was briefly discussed. What caught my attention were the cognitive or emotional issues that he confronted.
“In August I had my initial interview with Tim, was sufficiently impressed with his approach and therapy began.
“We initially revisited specific moments in my past when I had encountered severe blocks either on the telephone or in mixed company. We “edited movies” of these events so that they became insignificant and anxiety-free. Then I learned that stuttering followed a 1-2-3 pattern: 1) I would sense a “feared” word approaching that set off…2) anticipatory anxiety in my throat or chest that would pose the…3) fight/flight option, meaning that I would either inhale then stutter through the word or simply substitute words (flight).
“To successfully reduce initial anxiety as the stuttering moment approached, I learned that the thought of experiencing a feared sound (plosive or fricative for me) precedes the anxious feeling and the anxious feeling precedes the actual stutter. I learned that the initial fear, the thought that I was going to stutter, could be significantly reduced by knowing I had a way to “re-frame” the moment – that being to welcome the feeling, exhale and let the word slide out. Also, pausing before initiating the sound often helped to deliver the word fluently.
Since option 3) was no longer valid, I concentrated on 1) and 2) and began to realize that the plosives and fricatives that had for so long plagued me were actually harmless. Hence, the old panic began to wane and I became increasingly aware that I could control them by this new approach in “managing my state”. Most important, I realized the therapy taught at Iowa and at the Hollins campus treated only the symptom – the moment at which the stutter occurred.
“State Management requires dedication but, at least for me, I am convinced that this therapy is the answer, and that I can reverse the “mind-to-muscle” idea that I stutter. That I can become fluent in all speaking situations all the time is now a distinct a reality. I have been having more victories on the telephone and those once troublesome sounds, now free of tension, are “anchored” in my subconscious.
“What causes stuttering and why it persists into adulthood is still debatable. Yet I sincerely believe that, at last, permanent relief from this most embarrassing, and humiliating affliction is possible through NLP methodology.
“Finally, for me, the winner’s circle where fluency is commonplace is no longer a mirage. Its clarity strengthens daily and during this year I shall return to that fluent person I once was – that child who never doubted the first sounds he made.”
The complete article may be found here.
Success Story #5
The following comes from the “Epilogue” of PWS Roddy Grubbs’ article on his journey of using NLP and NS in bringing him more fluency. In the full 31 page article you will read a summary of 4 different therapy sessions that I had with Roddy over a period of 6 weeks. The summaries come from my notes while working with Roddy on the phone. He has made some changes to the summaries to make them more accurate and complete. The paragraphs below are from the “Epilogue” of the complete article. I encourage you to read the entire article as you will find much in the case studies and in Roddy’s reacting to and handling of what he learned that has resulted in his gaining more control over his stuttering. The complete article is here.
I realize more and more each week that re-programming one’s mind is not a quick-fix or a short-term endeavor. Talking with Bob and developing this new insight and comprehension provides a great deal of motivation and encouragement. There are times that I feel or think that I ought to be able to throw a big internal switch, and suddenly and permanently all things will have changed. I sometimes feel (sometimes wish) that, given this new understanding, I could just purge all of the old patterns and instantaneously replace them with new patterns; that I could, from that moment, just go forth a totally and completely changed person who never experiences any old patterns and their associated physiological responses ever again. I mean, ‘I comprehend what Bob is saying, I do believe in it, I know that it works because I demonstrate that to myself every day’. Sometimes I think “Why can’t I just have a big ‘Ah-Ha’ experience and then be forever changed?”
You know what that sort of sounds like? It sort of sounds like a little frustrated 4 or 6 or 8 or 10 year old boy that operates with a mindset of “I want what I want, when I want it; and I want it right now”.
But my objective adult side says, and knows, that not only are things not working out that way, things won’t ever, can’t ever, work out like that. The old patterns are burned into the cells and muscles of my mind-body through nearly 50 years of repetition. There’s no way to instantaneously purge that. They did not get established in the first place by some massive in-flooding of these patterns into some internal storage device. Those patterns were burned into my being through countless repetitive interpersonal encounters where I felt fear, apprehension, uneasiness, and anxiety about interacting with another person. My objective adult side comprehends that they have to be replaced through a slower moving effort of repetition, repetition, and more repetition.
I’m on the leading portion of this new trend curve. First of all, I am now aware of things that 6 weeks ago I had no comprehension. Second, I bring to many interpersonal encounters each day an awareness of the mind-set, and its associated dynamics, that have been the characteristic way, almost the instinctual way, that I have brought with me for almost 50 years. I also bring, at the same time, the knowledge of how to change my internal state of mind, how to access resources that empower me, and how to re-frame or alter that old mind-set and to operate out of a new mind-set. Some days I achieve ‘what I’m trying to achieve’ less than on other days. At the end of some days, I feel like ‘Wow! What a great and successful day!’ At the end of other days I feel like ‘Darn! That wasn’t nearly as good as I had wanted’. Some days I realize that somehow the day just ‘got away from me’.
So, I step back from this and acknowledge that I’m not where I want to be ultimately. But I also acknowledge that I’ve come a long way in 6 weeks, and I’m sure as hell not where I was! It’s like that first year or two of skiing. I’m just getting to see and feel and know ‘what this is all about’. Man, I’m having a ton of fun so far – and I’m just a beginner! Although those black-diamond runs scare me today, I instinctively know that I will get there before too long! Will it take 50 days? 50 weeks? 50 months? 50 years? I can not tell you; I have no crystal ball. But my ‘gut response’ is that it’s somewhere between 50 days and 50 weeks. I’ll check back with you and let you know one year from today.
The complete article is here.
Success Story #4
I met Bob while taking the Meta-NLP class at Gaston College. I have had for the majority of my life an uncontrollable stuttering problem. While in class, I learned how to apply Neuro-Semantics to controlling my stuttering. How do I know it worked? After having a long conversation with several people, it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn’t stuttered at all and that I had talked great. I use to be horrified of calling people on the phone. Now, I can call people without the anxiety and the stuttering. In fact, I suddenly found myself calling people more frequently.
Bank of America
Charlotte, North Carolina
Success Story #3
Neuro-Semantics has changed my inner dialog! During a period of roughly five months I went from negative self destructive chatter to an inner-voice that is constantly keeping its focus on a positive answer. This resulted in going from massive blocking, hesitations, looping words, locked breathing and a very low self-esteem, to a life where new challenges became visible and a feeling of being liberated from old chains. Neuro-Semantics has enabled me to discover what fueled my non-fluency and whatever entered my mind from being a PWS. Now I can have conversations with any one I like or have to.
6 month follow-up:
Click here for a 6 Month follow up for Rene Robben who has written an informative article on how coming to make his own choices rather than letting someone else choose for him is not only revolutionizing his speech but also his life as well.
Click here to read the book that Rene is working on entitled A Small Guide to Fluency.
René Robben October 2004 – The Netherlands
Success Story #2
The following information was received by me in an unsolicited e-mail 10/10/2004. This person attended the 5-Day Mastering Blocking & Stuttering Workshop in Perth Australia February 2004. He did not wish for his name to be available on the internet but is more than willing to share individually with PWS. If you wish to communicate with him, contact Bob Bodenhamer at:
I thought I should also give you a brief report of my progress with my speech. I’ve been meaning to write to you a long time ago as I’ve been really impressed by my progress using NLP tools. Since attending the course in Perth, I’ve been a different person. I hardly stutter at work and I do a lot of talking. I think that the last six months have been the happiest of my life. And I’ve also been able to maintain my fluency at social functions (eg parties). I’ve never been able to do that using any of the speech therapy courses I’ve done in the past. At the timing of this insurgence of fluency has been impeccable as over the last few months, I had to attend a lot of parties and business meetings (in fact, I would say that on a few business meetings, my fluency has been a life-saver)
I still stutter once in a while. But now its very mild and short in duration. What’s strange is that now I approach any social situation in confidence; in my mind stuttering is no longer an issue. But when I do stutter, I find myself really surprised that I actually had a stutter. This says to me that in my mind, stuttering is no longer an issue, but my body is still playing catch up. Nonetheless, I’m not too concerned about this as I always seem to be improving. Everyday, I see myself improving.
Immediately after the course, I used about 3 or 4 tools. But now, I only use the “3rd position” and “5th position” tool (from time to time, I would alternate between these two perspectives). And I think that I’ve used this tool so many times, now, I often automatically switch to the mentality behind these perspectives even though I’m not actually trying to be in 3rd/5th position. E.g. when approaching a speaking situation, the state of my mind is already as if I’m at a 3rd/5th position even though I’m not deliberately trying to use any of these tools. And I experience fluency. Yet I can’t actually verbalize/articulate what this state of mind is (I only know that it “feels” as if I’m already in the 3rd/5th position even though I’m not really practicing that tool).
Anyway, attending your course in Perth is the best thing that I’ve done in my life at this point. Please continue your good work
The author concludes his testimony from attending our workshop, from receiving therapy from an NLP trained speech pathologist and from Bob Bodenhamer:
I thought that stammer was protecting me from saying a wrong thing i.e. English is not my first language and sometimes when I did not know how to say something I would stammer so that people think that I stammer but do not actually know what to say or how to say something. Then I discovered my “Resource state” and applied it to all those negative, unnecessary thoughts. And when I am actually in that “Recourse state” stutter disappears/dissolves. I feel calm, relaxed, confident, courageous, brave, fearless, self assertive etc. When I speak I forget about how I speak. I concentrate on what am I saying, not on how to say it. One has to be able to operate unconsciously from one’s “Resource State” every time one speaks.
Now I am getting to the point where I actually enjoy conversation, total experience, not just talking. I know it will take time and I remember that it will take as long as it will take. I have to practice, practice and practice on the things we covered with Bob and don’t be discouraged if I block sometimes. I don’t have to beat myself up for the blocks that I have. I have to learn from them, replace failure with feedback. There are so many things to say that I did, do and are still to be done, because first I learned, then I practiced and then, at some point I just forget about these things and give up control to my “Resource State”. That is where and when I speak fluently.
Click here for his full article.
(If you would like to speak with the author, contact Bob Bodenhamer and he will arrange a conversation between the two of you.)